Innovative Strategies for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging: A Webinar with Uber and HireBlackNow

Oct 05, 2022 - Valery Caputi Lopez

Recently we had the pleasure of hosting one of our most impactful webinars yet on the topic of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, tackling the specific challenges that exist in the current hiring landscape and reviewing the strategies that work to overcome them at every stage of the recruiting and retention process. Thanks to our special guest speakers from Uber and HireBlackNow, we have answers to the most pressing questions industry leaders want answered. Read on to learn more, or better yet, listen to the full on-demand webinar here.

Webinar Panel:

Bobbi Oxendine, Senior Manager, Diversity Sourcing for Uber

“You have to look at DEIB from the top of the funnel and see how you drive a line between attracting and retaining your employees.”

Michelle Thompson, Global Sourcing Leader for Uber

“Our goal is to infuse diversity, equity and inclusion into candidates and interviewers so that every stage of the recruiting process is covered.”

Niani Tolbert, CEO and Founder of HireBlackNow

“We want to hit equity. It’s about access for underrepresented communities, not just assets. I believe DEI should exist in every single step of the recruiting cycle.”

Defining Diversity: How are Your Teams Widening the Lens?

One of the most important points that were made was that diversity candidates exist everywhere, and not just within HBCUs, specific identity-based organizations, or clubs. As Tolbert pointed out, many eligible black candidates are left out of certain corporate DEIB programs and recruitment processes simply because they are not expressly identified or affiliated with one of these well-known academic institutions. Beyond race and gender, there are many ways to ensure that inclusion is considered for other diversity candidates (including those of different sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, and neurodiverse candidates, to only name a few).

“You have to be diverse as well in the way you look at diversity, Oxendine said. “One of the things that we at Uber are challenged with -and it’s the same for other technology companies- is that there is a small box in terms of the types of companies we look at, that are similar to us, and they are not a very diverse set of companies. But it’s part of my role to continue to open their aperture and change the way that they look at other potential companies where we can find talent in, so that they can eventually become a part of our company,” she said.

The DEIB Challenge

If you want to attract diversity candidates, you have to look and live the part. “Nowadays, companies are really being held accountable to the things that they say and advertise, especially by their prospective candidates” Thompson explained. “Part of the challenge that we face at Uber is to match the candidate experience (i.e. the questions asked, the makeup of the hiring panel, interviewer styles, etc.) to the expectations of the diversity candidates we worked so hard to attract, so that a base comfort level is established from start to finish, and job seekers know that we are making efforts to embody our DEIB goals across the candidate journey.”

Strategies that Work

“Even small changes can make a big difference in your hiring process, such as asking candidates for their preferred pronouns at the top of a hiring call,” Oxendine said. The feedback that her team received after implementing this seemingly minor change was widely positive, with candidates claiming that they felt a heightened sense of respect from the way in which they were treated and addressed, making them feel like they belonged and were included. So look at the different steps in your hiring process where you can make a big impact in your candidate experience. Just because they may seem like a small thing to you, never underestimate how huge their impact can be from the candidates’ perspectives.

Investment in learning and development for new hires is also monumental due to the different backgrounds and experiences of these professionals, particularly class migrants or first-generation white-collar workers. “How you are developing your talent beyond just having them work for you is one of the most important things to think about when implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives,” Tolbert said. “How are you fostering mentorship programs and connecting people? How are you investing in your talent? These are some of the most important things to consider when thinking about DEIB,” she said.

To hear the full conversation and learn even more strategies and tactics to improve your own diversity hiring efforts, listen to the on-demand webinar recording here.

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